Suitcases packed. Paperwork filled out. The excitement of leaving to a whole new adventure finally hits the night before my friend and I leave for the airport. Come to find out, a half and hour before we leave our houses, our flight had been delayed and we wouldn’t make our connecting flight; we would have to pick an alternative flight! Unfortunately, the next one was leaving in an hour and the one after that, 10 hours later. “Hurry!”, we thought. “We can totally make the 8AM flight!” Racing toward the airport, we arrived around 7:15AM. Not wanting to risk missing the flight and having to pay again, we decided on the later flight time. Thus, we would have to wait in the Philadelphia Airport and arrive to Korea 12 hours than our initial plan. Lesson learned, pick flights with a longer layover!
Over 24 hours later, we finally arrived in Seoul! Tired from a 14 hour flight, playing the waiting game at multiple airports, and uncomfortable seating, we hopped in a taxi and proceeded to tell the driver our dorm’s address in broken Korean. Going in and out of consciousness, I attempted to stare out the window, taking in the scenery around me. Other than the beauty of Korea, something I first noticed about transportation in Korea that’s different in U.S. was the fact that a lot of people get around using KTM motorcycles. Since the traffic can get horrendous, it really is a great alternative to easily travel within Seoul.
The first week of our arrival was spent getting settled in and a little exploration of our campus. Luckily for us, our living situation was quite convenient because they provided a lot of the necessities such as pots, dishes, and shampoo/conditioner. With that being said, I suggest that you pack your most essential items, mostly clothing and shoes, and buy everything else in Korea. This will let you have more room in your suitcase and will allow you to purchase more souvenirs from your adventure!
If you want a smooth transition to life in Korea, you should definitely look into buying a travel plug adapter before leaving the states. Or, you will end up like us: trekking all around Seoul to find one that isn’t cheaply made. Since the plugs in Korea go deeper in the wall, you should invest in a smaller adapter so it will actually plug in. To save any additional hassle, I recommend the travel adapter from the E-Mart in Wangsimni if you ever need an extra or if you simply forget to bring one!
Of course, the biggest reason of our travels – enrollment in Hanyang University! Despite being built on a hill and making it difficult to speed walk from class to class, Hanyang’s campus is quite beautiful! Since the campus is not in the center of the city like Drexel, it is very spacious. The buildings are a bit smaller, but more spread out. There’s a lot of intricately placed rocks to create stone walls in conjunction with their hills. There’s numerous wooden bridges, cobblestone pathways, and stairs to aid in getting around campus. Hanyang definitely has it’s distinct features, and I cannot wait to spend the next 3 months learning at this university and getting physically fit with the amount of walking I do here!